This story was written by The Ithaca Voice Intern Olivia Riggio.
ITHACA, N.Y. — Nearly 400 marches will take place across the world Saturday to stand against climate-destroying governmental policies and raise awareness about the pressing issue. Ithaca is hosting one of them.
The Ithaca march — dubbed People’s Climate Movement March for Climate, Jobs & Justice — will begin with a rally at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the Commons and end with a rally and post- Earth Day celebration at The Space at GreenStar.
Gay Nicholson is the president of Sustainable Tompkins and the host of this event. She said though the emphasis of the local march is on the climate, the issues of jobs and social justice intersect heavily.
“It’s all connected and the same system that doubles down on fossil fuel use and promotes climate denial is the same system that has created this incredible economic inequality and built in structural racism. It’s all the same mindset,” Nicholson said.
According to The People’s Climate Movement website, the event is happening largely in response to recent national actions that negatively impact the environment. The global marches coincide with President Donald Trump’s 100th day in the White House.
Meaghan Sheehan Rosen is the coordinator of Friendship Donations Network, one of Sustainable Tompkins’ co-hosts of the event. Friendship Donations Network works to rescue fresh, nutritious food that would otherwise be discarded from stores and farms and redistribute it to those in need. She said Friendship Donations Network’s mission matches that of the March for Climate, Jobs & Justice, as it concerns both socioeconomic and environmental issues.
“Our goal is to keep food out of the landfill … It just makes sense that if there’s good food that we should be feeding people and not throwing it away,” Sheehan Rosen said.
Sheehan Rosen said the march is to protect the gains that have been made over the years to protect the environment and to express hopes of having clean, renewable energy in the future.
Anne Koreman, who is running for Tompkins County Legislature, is a self-described concerned citizen and a long-time environmental activist who has worked with the Sierra Club in Tompkins County and volunteers for Sustainable Tompkins. She said she thinks it’s important to act locally and nationally to combat the climate crisis.
“We want to make sure people are doing all they can at the local level, and not give up just because of what’s happening nationally,” Koreman said.
She said the event will be partially educational, as rallies will include speakers and presenters who will discuss actions citizens can take in their own homes to reduce their carbon footprints.
What to expect at the Climate Change rally and march
The rally will begin on the Commons with musical performances by artists Colleen Kattau and Burns & Kristie, followed several speakers, including Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton who will discuss policies New York State can make to improve sustainability. The North American Cultural Laboratory, a theatre, stilt-walking collective will perform a satirical political skit.
Other speakers will be addressing issues such as achieving eco-friendliness in rural towns and hyperlocal ways to improve sustainability.
At the conclusion of the speeches, the Fall Creek Marching Band will then lead the demonstrators from the Commons to The Space at GreenStar.
At The Space, demonstrations, speeches and musical performances will be meant to inspire action by attendees. Educational demonstrations will be telling attendees how to achieve clean energy in their homes. There will be talks about the intersection of race and the environment as well as information on the Finger Lakes climate fund.
“That’s what all of that kind of gathering and marching is about. To get through sitting at home and clicking through petitions or whatever, and actually getting out and seeing the faces of other people who actually care about this issue,” Nicholson said.
Koreman said she hopes aside from raising awareness and providing education, the March for Climate, Jobs & Justice will and inspire people to keep fighting for climate and socioeconomic justice.
“The goal is to keep people active, because we think that people are going to get a little bit tired from what the Trump administration is doing,” Koreman said. “We’re trying to do things to keep people energized so that they can stay positive and focus on what they can do.”
Featured photo courtesy of Flickr.